Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Death Race Training Camp #1- 26 Hours of FUN (and pain!)

26 hours of continuous training for the Death Race! I had not been up that long since my daughter was an infant. :)

I feel so happy. Tired but not horrible. Sore but I have felt worse. I want to get back out there again RIGHT NOW.

Does this mean I get what the Death Race and what Andy and Joe are offering really means? I am not there  to compete but to have an experience. Not to win, but to say when the going gets tough, keep on trucking. I did quit at one point because I was freezing during the 10 mile run. I am pissed I did that. I should have kept going but I went back to the farm. I knew it when I made the decision, too. I said to myself "this is what it is about. And it is going to be 50 times worse come June 21." And, I turned around. GRRRR. I was still in the game, though, and finished the camp with a smile on my face. Anyway, below is a recap of the tasks we were given in those 26 hours. This will be long but it will be entertaining! It was amazingly FUN.

Thursday night, I packed up all my gear into my backpack and also all the extras into a bucket to leave at the Amee Farm Greenhouse.

I left my house around 4:45pm to get to the Pittsfield General Store for some food. Treehugger wrap set me up for the evening! We signed in with Peter Borden there, literally signed our life away (waiver) and were told to go to the Amee Farm Greenhouse, drop off our gear and be ready to get going at 7pm.

Amee Farm Greenhouse. Gear drop and that shelf
would be my bed 26 hours later. 

Unbelievably happy!
Getting gear ready!
Don Devaney and Mr. Skully, a constant at Death Races

Death Race veterans, Don Devaney, Norm Koch, and Todd Sedlak, and Peter Borden, Death Race volunteer veteran, were in charge of the first 12 hours of our weekend. After we settled in (I believe there were about 18 of us who started?) we were directed to take several pieces of lumber down to the river (about a half  mile) and were told we were going to build a bridge across the river at some point during the weekend and to start figuring out how to get it done. We hauled stuff for about an hour or so, were told get our asses back to the farm by 8:30 or we would have to do burpees for every minute we were late. Don said we had to do 300. Good times!

We went back in to the greenhouse, Don split us into teams. I was the pink team so we got a piece of pink duct tape and we were to keep track of our burpees on it. We had to do all 300 by the next morning. All of a sudden, a camera crew was was 60 minutes! Huh? It was pitch dark out and we were doing burpees, counting loudly as we were doing them and the big camera was in my face! I finished 120 and we were told to go back inside to get our packs. We went back outside to pick a log from the pile (buried in snow) and to cut it up into 18 inch pieces with our handsaw and then split it with our ax. Easy. I was so happy to use my ax! It was starting to snow and it was not too cold out so it was really pleasant being out there. I think after this we had to do more burpees so I finished up to 200 and then Don said it was time to bring our pack down to the Bikram Yoga Studio which was about a mile away. This was at about 9:30pm. 

Next task? Not bikram yoga like we were all hoping for! Take buckets and shovel off the 2 feet of snow that buried the Spartan Race obstacle course pieces that were under tarps and put everything in the large trucks or the storage container. AWESOME. It was snowing pretty steady still and we were all in good spirits just chugging away. Spartan headquarters is in the yoga studio so I peeked in to check it out. Totally unassuming place. You would never know a $50 million business was run there. :)

Spartan Headquarters

Jordan hauling one of the MILLION boards we carried
over the next 3 hours. We were storing them in those containers and trucks.

So, I think we were at the studio doing this until 1am ish? Before we left, we were told to dig out 60 and 80 pound concrete blocks that are used in the Spartan Races and drag them back to the Amee Farm (a mile) along with a 5 gallon bucket and a pipe. Luckily, we all had rope so we rigged it and and started dragging. It was still snowing so the roads were a little slick which helped us when dragging the weight. I could not pick up that 60 pounder so I put it in my bucket, tied a rope on the handle (like everyone else, I think) and hoofed it back. 

So, it was now about 2am I think and it was time to go to the Sheep Barn! Oh boy. No sheep there but PLENTY of sheep shit to shovel. We were told to dig to the floor, which was about a foot deep of compacted hay and sheep shit. We could only use what was in the barn to dig. There were no shovels. So we found scraps of metal, used axes, etc, to dig it up and put them into the buckets or anything we could find in the barn and haul it outside and drop into a huge pile. Oh my god. So gross. As you dug deeper, the ammonia smell increased from the urine. I can't imagine what we inhaled for those 3 hours or so. I had some major laughing fits during this time. How ridiculous was this task!! Come on, you had to laugh!

Sheep shit by the yard!

Don supervising  :)

It was such a beautiful night out. Thank god we could get out of the barn to empty the buckets. All I remember hearing as I would empty the buckets is Peter, Don and Todd talking about the Easter Bunny or holiday stuff as they sat outside watching us. Weird memory but that is what I remember. :) And,I don't think we even got 3/4 of the way through. It was a massive job.

Ok, we were told to all of a sudden go back to the barn but we had to run. So, through knee deep snow, we did. Was it 3:30 or 4am now? Our next task was to move 4 large Spartan Walls down the trail towards the river. Don gave directions. I don't even remember what the were exactly but they had to be put where he marked the snow and off the side of the trail on the right side. I think these walls were 12-15 feet long or less? Not sure but they were heavy! So, working as a group was interesting to say the least on this task. What is the best way? What did Don say? Where do these go? One, two, three, push! It was kind of a cluster fuck. The trail is hilly and twisty and there is a narrow bridge so this was not going to be easy.
So,  we ended up dragging them somehow to where they needed to go. And, then we were told to go back to the greenhouse to take a break (this is camp, so we had a half hour. No breaks in the Death Race!) Most of us ate food and took a quick nap on the ground. This was at about 6am.

Hello, Spartan Walls. I hate you.

Bitchy walls ;)

At 6:30, wake up! Time to head back outside for burpees! I finished up my 300 at this point and then we were told to get another log to saw and split. And, then at around 7am, Andy and  Joe show up! Just as the sun was starting to rise, our day of hell would begin! :) Joe was barking at us from the get go and Andy was "the nice one" and said his hellos, hugs and hand shakes.

Hand saws were not liking the logs

Kind of cold this morning

What am I saying?

Andy is here! Shitshow will begin soon!

Andy, the dude who inspires me the most!

Jordan destroying the log

So, Joe is there barking at us the whole time we are chopping wood. "60 minutes is coming back! Get your wood chopped! Breakfast will be served at the General Store. Let's go!! You have 5 minutes....3 minutes, etc. Let's go!" 

So, after we were done, we had to keep 4 pieces of the wood and carrying them with us. We were told to get our stuff and to head to the Pittsfield General Store for breakfast. This is when Robin Crossman, 3 time Death Race finisher and my hero, said "breakfast is not going to happen." Shit, Joe duped us. So, we were told to not to walk on the road but to walk in the field to the store and no one could go in anyone else's tracks in the knee deep snow. We trudged our way to the store, were told to put our breakfast orders in and then get back outside to dig out the large metal holiday sleigh. GREAT. Two feet of snow and the sucker was behind a big snow bank as tall as the sleigh. So, we dug it out, and tried to free it from the frozen ground. We had to get it over the bank and into the driveway so we could push it to god knows where. I thought for sure we were going to have to haul it up to the top of Joe's Mountain. Nope, Joe came out and told us there was no breakfast, put our packs on and follow him. We pushed the sleigh across the road and onto the VAST trails for so long. I don't even remember how long we were out there, maybe 1 hour or 1.5 hours. We were pushing it back to Joe's house to store it but we did not know that. Favorite part of pushing the sleigh was when Andy said "I am kind of tired!" and he and Joe jumped in the sleigh and we pushed them. Oh my god. Hilarious.

approaching the fence we will have to lift it over
up and over!
ah, Joe smiling. we did it!
Ok, next up. Climb Joe's Mountain. Straight up. No trail. Just straight up. I have been up that mountain a zillion times, but not this way. It was so beautiful, the snow was deep, and this is where I got really tired and emotional. No one had snowshoes with them (dumbasses! we left them at the greenhouse) so we were slogging. Joe lead the way like it was a paved road...amazingly strong. Jordan, who can read a situation and is the smartest dude I know, asked if he could take my pack. I said yes, knowing that I really should be huffing it myself, I let him. He saved my ass. We continued up the mountain for an hour or so I think. Toward the top, Joe was there and he saw I was tired and he put his hand out and said good job. I started crying just after that. I was tired...probably 16 hours in at the point and should have eaten more before starting up the mountain. I was also overwhelmed with what Jordan did for me. If he had not carried my pack, I would have been a mess. I went behind Joe's Cabin and cried  my ass off for a minute or so and then came out and joined the group. Joe said "Listen up! sit your asses in the snowbank and listen to Andy's story". Friggin' 60 Minutes was there and got my crying in the snowbank while Andy was telling us a long story about a Russian Swimmer. Andy can tell a He did not even take a breath! :) When he was done, we started down the mountain. I could not stop crying!! I yelled to Andy, "Andy, why am I crying!?!?!!? I don't want to quit I just can't stop!!" He said "hold up, Joe. We need to regroup." So, this is where Andy explained to me that I was in a low spot and that I would come out of it. He offered to take my pack but the pack was no issue any longer and I kept it. He gave me an Omega vitamin (he had that in his pocket? random) and I came out of my low and was all of a sudden wicked happy. I stayed up front with Joe and Andy and Keith was up there too. The woods were so beautiful and I was so present at that point. The snow was deep, Joe was quiet carrying his bucket of webbing (for our next task!) and Andy was talking away. This is where I witnessed the awesome dynamic between Joe and Andy. I am not even going to try to put it into words. You just have to see it. Two very different personalities and for some reason, it just works and it is amazing. Those who have seen it know what I mean and I will leave it at that.

Andy telling his story. Me with my pack.
crying in the snow bank listening to Andy :)
So, we bushwhacked down the mountain and then we were at the river. Oh boy. The boards we hauled that night before were across and we had to cross over. Don and Peter and Norm were on the other side waiting for us. Time to cross. So, Todd explained that taking your boots off and walking barefoot would be the best way if you did not have waterproof boots because you will get soaked and won't be able to keep yourself warm. If you blast across and get your feet back in the dry socks and boots, boom, you are done and you are warm. Ok! I watched Andy do it. I don't think anyone else did. Others had garbage bags and I am not sure how successful that was. So, I said, fuck it, boots come off. I ran across and up the I Beam that was in the water and there I was, standing there, with no plan in the snow! SO DUMB. Todd immediately told me to sit down and he unzipped his snow suit and put my feet in his groin to warm them up. And, it worked! Thanks for the warm groin, Todd! Someone helped get me new socks out of my pack as my feet were warming up and Todd put them on my feet and in my boots and I was good to go. Yay for 60 Minutes filming that whole thing, too.

Next task: pull the sketchy I Beam bridge out of the river! The temperature was dropping, I ran back to the farm to get warm really quickly and then came back to help them. The beam is about 2400 pounds and we were down a few people. But, we did it!

There is the lumber across the river!
about to cross the river...19 hours in I think
60 Minutes crew!
Joe and Peter Borden and Keith Glass
Pulling the I Beam. Yes, Todd Sedlak is making me laugh per usual!

So, at about 2:30pm or so, we headed back to the Amee Farm. Next up, change and get ready for a 10 mile run! Andy and Joe leading the way. We stopped at Riverside Ave and Andy ran up and got us all a Peaks Ibex Beanie hat! And we headed off. I could feel myself getting really cold and the sun was dipping and we were told to go to South Hill Rd and do this 10 mile loop. I "ran" (pffff, run? I was so damn slow) the two miles to South Hill Rd and I was chilled to the bone and Todd was running with me and I said I don't want to go 8 more miles. As I was saying it, I KNEW this is what the Death Race was about. 22 hours in, I was not into being cold anymore and I was letting it get to me. Todd said to make the decision when I got to the road. I got there and turned around. Todd came back with me, I stopped at the General Store for a warm drink courtesy of Don, and then hiked back to the Farm. I thought I was done with the camp. I was not jumping up and down that I was done because I was feeling ok besides being really chilled. On the way back, I was told that we were going to move the Spartan Walls BACK onto the trucks! Holy shit, I thought we were done with those bastards. We now only had 8 people to move them. So, we waited for the runners to get back which was about 5-5:30, maybe 6pm, ate some warm food and then we headed back out around 6:30pm to move those suckers back. We did took until 9:30 but we got them back. Don helped us. Good god, that man is so strong. And inspiring. With his help and motivating spirit, we did it.

Yes I am posting this picture again. you bastard WALLS!
We went back into the greenhouse and started packing up. I was so tired that I pulled out my sleeping bag and sleeping pad, set up on the shelf and went to sleep. The lights were on, the heat fans were so loud, but I just fell asleep.I was wanting to say goodnight and goodbye to everyone but my eyes closed. Later on, I could hear Todd and Don talking quietly for a few hours. I woke up at midnight and only Tim and Don and I had spent the night there. I was comfortable, content, peaceful. I fell back asleep. 

I woke up at 6am to find my brain in such a haze. Oh my god. I needed food and water. Don, Tim and I walked down to the General Store for breakfast. I think we were there for almost two hours just talking and chowing. Such a wonderful way to end the weekend. Don had made a joke earlier that since Tim and I had stayed the final task was to go to breakfast at the store he declared everyone else DNF and Tim and I were the winners :)

Female champ! ;) Hey, I got 3-1 odds of finishing at the beginning of the camp :)

I posted these thoughts on my FB page after. I think this is the best summary I could come up with so I will repost here:

1. I did alot this weekend, but I could have dug deeper. I quit a couple times for sure. The cold got me and I let it.
2. people process these events and take from it very differently from each other. I am emotional and process externally. Big crying at one point! Some people like to compete, some people like the adventure. I am and adventure/experience person.
3. Andy and Joe are so different yet they are so awesome together. Watching that dynamic was amazing. And, getting a fist bump from Joe as I approached the top of the mountain with a "good job" was crazy.
4. Todd Sedlak knows so much. Wicked fun listening to all his tid bits of information. (better layering!) And thanks for saving my feet.
5. Don Devaney is one of the strongest people I know. He pretty much pulled those friggin' Spartan Race walls himself at the end. Seeing him get pumped up and jazzed was awesome and inspiring.
6. Robin Crossman is zen. Best part of the weekend was meeting and participating with him. Three time death race finisher. So awesome.
7. Jordan Peters is just awesome. Saved me climbing up the mountain when I was starting to fade.
7. Do more with less.
8. My daughter was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen when I walked through the door this morning.
9. Ready to do it again.

Pittsfield. Where my heart is....

I am forever thankful for Andy and Joe and Peak Races. They have changed my life as I have mentioned a million times before in my blog. Pittsfield is the most amazing place. The spirit of adventure and the people who flock to that town to push their limits...I just can't stay away from there. This weekend, Death Race Camp #2. Am I going back out there again already? Yes. Because I can. Because my heart is there. Because I am on this new path of discovery (that is fact...not trying to be cheesy, here). I understand what Andy and Joe are providing us experience to change our lives. THANK YOU FOR THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART. 

Let the training begin.


1 comment:

  1. You did great girl... I only could go 22 hours bt hopefully do better in the Winter Death Race..